George W. Bush pledged to restore "honor and dignity" to the White House. Poppy's desk may come back first.

The elder Bush was quick to put his personal stamp on the Oval Office. He brought in the mahogany desk he'd used as vice president, and had New York designer Mark Hampton (who also worked on Bush's Kennebunkport house) redecorate in his favorite color: blue, with gold and ivory accents.

Bill Clinton didn't waste time making changes, either. On Inauguration Day he replaced Bush's desk with the 1880 "Resolute" desk first used in the Oval Office by JFK. Other furnishings took longer to switch. But Clinton, assisted by Arkansas decorator Kaki Hockersmith, "completely changed the look," says White House curator Betty Monkman.

Now George W. can redecorate, too. He may choose all new furniture--or he could simply pull Dad's stuff out of storage in a climate-controlled warehouse in suburban Maryland.

FIRST PERSON Running Mates Three things dominate George W. Bush's life: his wife, religion and exercise (OK, there's baseball, too). I saw Bush's jock side on a run Feb. 15, the day of the last GOP primary debate. "Newsweek Man," Bush drawled when he saw me in Columbia, S.C., "you can't run in your underwear." I was in plaid Bermudas. No stretching? "Nah," he said. "We'll just start out slow." Lickety-split we hit a pretty good clip--three 7-minute, 10-second miles, by Bush's watch. We talked about running: it helps him sleep and absorbs all the junk food he eats. On the sunny riverside path, only the occasional jogger recognized the cap-wearing future president. "Watch this," he winked. "I'll take off my cap and practically everyone'll recognize me." He did, and they did. Bush was at home in "regular guy" mode. When the trail narrowed we both eased up to let the other go first. When he pressed the accelerator I pressed it a little harder, and vice versa. I kept up and apparently won a modicum of respect. "You made the varsity," he said.

FIRST PERSONThe Prayer That Killed the Peace

When I arrived in the Middle East 15 months ago, I was hopeful I'd be covering a historic final peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Ehud Barak had recently been elected prime minister. He spoke grandly of putting an end to 100 years of conflict. Palestinians, still awaiting their state, were less sanguine. But they too said that the peace process was irreversible. All of that went up in smoke on a sunny September afternoon in Jerusalem. Sitting in the NEWSWEEK office in Abu Tor, I heard the whine of sirens. Looking up from my computer screen, I could see a dozen ambulances careering up the side of Mount Zion. It was the first day of deadly rioting sparked by Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount, sacred to both Jews and Muslims. Peering across a Biblical landscape, I saw thick clouds of black smoke billowing up from behind the golden Dome of the Rock mosque--the world's most contested real estate. I grabbed a notebook and headed on foot to the Old City. In the Muslim quarter, a colleague and I climbed on top of a jumble of ancient Palestinian homes to get a better view of the Temple Mount, where Palestinian protesters were clashing with Israeli soldiers. Perched on the Western Wall, overlooking the sacred platform known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif, we could see an Israeli sniper aiming his rifle. We didn't know yet how many people had died (there were four in that first bloody day). But I had a feeling that from then on I'd be covering war, not peace.

NAPSTERExit Light, Enter Rights Who was afraid of Napster, the instantly popular Internet service that allowed millions to share free music files? The entire entertainment industry, big time. The moguls sued, of course, and a preliminary injunction to pull the plug is still awaiting an appeals-court ruling. Meanwhile Napster forged a deal with music giant BMG, promising to shift to a membership scheme that would (in an as-yet-unspecified process) force downloaders to pay for MP3s. Still, the image that sticks out in my mind isn't of college students downloading unreleased Madonna tunes, or even Napsterkind Shawn Fanning hugging BMG's Teutonic CEO. It came from the testimony of an F2R (folk-to-rock) entrepreneur, Roger McGuinn. Without rancor, he told the legislators that even when he was topping charts with the Byrds, his royalties weren't munificent and now, despite moneys from reissues, he makes the bulk of his income from live appearances. The Lesson: this battle means a lot more to the record companies than to the musicians to whom they owe their existence. "I think," McGuinn says now, "it's going to eventually come out at pretty much the status quo." Meanwhile, he adds, "I'm just having a lot of fun exploring the folk thing with the Internet." You can check out his work at Or download it free from Napster, unless--or until--the courts shut it down.

COMPETITIONGame Over It was either the ultimate year for sports or the bellwether of their end. With Tiger Woods's dominance--nine PGA wins including three majors and a career Grand Slam--and the Yankees' fourth world title in five years, it was a tough year for challengers. But the death of competition sure was cool to watch. TELEVISIONWhat's the Story, Morning Glory? Depends on whom you ask. The most-covered stories on nightly network news were not the most interesting to the viewers, according to two studies. The presidential campaign captivated journalists, but left the public cold. The rising price of gasoline, on the other hand, sparked more interest than coverage. PERI charts the inconsistancies: HOW-TOHigh-Wire Act Wire work--the martial-arts FX technique that makes actors fly--has been a Hong Kong cinema staple for years. But in 2000 it exploded in the West: "M:I-2," "Romeo Must Die," "Charlie's Angels" and, now, "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon." The film's star, Asian idol Michelle Yeoh, explains how it works. 1. "First you're corseted in," says Yeoh. It has to be tight--you don't look fat on screen. "Basically, you can't breathe." 2. A five-man pulley team attaches two wires--"they're incredibly heavy; it feels like you're holding up 80 pounds"--which run up to a pair of giant cranes. You are ready to fly. 3. Fly.4. Make no sudden movements. "When I'm running up a wall, if I don't turn the moment I feel slack on the wire, I get yanked and crash into a wall." Yeoh winces. "It's happened a few times." FIRST PERSONRazor Sharp, Razor Flat It wasn't as bad as it looked. The bleeding stopped pretty quickly. Now, months later, I've regained nearly a full range of motion in both hands. Unfortunately for me, it turns out the year's hottest mode of transport, the Razor, is aptly named. Even more unfortunate for me, I discovered this on one of New York's most popular boulevards. Like many disasters, it started innocently enough. On a sunny spring day, I set out to pick up my son at school. He had left specific instructions: bring the scooter. I mounted up and, with a little practice, I was ready for my Broadway debut. I executed a soaring turn onto Broadway, which was jammed. It was still early enough in the Scooter Age to attract attention. I sped up and made a few deft zigzags between admiring onlookers. Errol Flynn on wheels. Then I hit The Crack. The scooter stopped cold. I didn't. I flew up in the air, over the handlebars, and came down hard. It really hurt, but public humiliation can be therapeutic. I leapt to my feet and fled in disgrace. These days I ride only the subways, happily underground and out of sight.

HISTORYSo Easy to Leave Me All Alone With the Memories Not all years are created equal. So PERI has determined--using our very scientific "star system"--which ones were good and which ones were bad. Our final analysis:

A year of betrayal: Michael Milken pleads guilty to stock fraud, Milli Vanilli busted for not singing the truth. After nine episodes, Homer realizes that he's lip-synced, too.

Very seductive year: we're wooed by 'Scud Stud' Arthur Kent, learn that Wilt Chamberlain scores off the court--and Pee-wee Herman takes in a movie, takes out his ...

Tense times: riots in L.A. after the Rodney King verdict and widespread panic when people realize that their reality is nothing like the one on MTV's 'The Real World'

Tragedy strikes: terrorists hit the World Trade Center, the Waco standoff ends in a fatal fire--and the Sears catalog folds. John Bobbitt saves year with ultimate sacrifice.

Mixed emotions: Kurt Cobain commits suicide, but Americans feel better about eating Quarter Pounders when they learn that even the French like the Royale with cheese

Tragedy redux: Oklahoma City bombing. O.J. is acquitted of murder, vows to find the killer. In international news, Burma is now Myanmar--finally!

No lovin': 'The Rules' gets big, guys' calls not returned. Couples do the Macarena, never talk again. The Unabomber's own brother turns him in.

Very sad year: Princess Di is killed in a car crash; O.J. still can't find the murderer. Good weather year, though: El Nino, a serious issue, is so fun to say. El Nino! El Nino!

Monica, Monica, Monica,
Monica, Monica, Monica,
Monica, Monica, Monica,
Monica, Monica, Monica,
Monica, Monica, Monica,
Monica, Monica, Monica,
Monica, Monica, Monica,
Monica, Monica, Viagra

Technology reigns supreme. 'The Matrix' is popular, as is giving cash to dot-coms. But we have to endure Pokemania, and Y2K trouble pops up only in Ohio calculator.

Great year for sport. Election 2000 goes into overtime, the Yankees win their third World Series in a row--and Britney and Christina battle it out for navel supremacy. FIRST PERSONBradley's Last Motorcade Candidates get accustomed to motorcades, with their lines of limos and vans and motorcycle cops. Bill Bradley rode in his last on the afternoon of March 9. He'd bowed out of the presidential race in a drab suburban event hall, presenting each of us who'd been on his plane with silver key chains in the shape of a basketball sneaker. It was an unusually gracious gesture from an unusually reserved man. I'd been asking for one last interview, and finally I was invited back to the campaign headquarters down the street. It was nearly empty; a few of the red-eyed young staffers who remained were giving away Bradley sweatshirts as collector's items. While I was talking to Bradley, his wife, Ernestine, poked her head in and said that someone was taking their car to get it washed. Bradley explained that the Secret Service agents posted outside had been ordered to end their detail. But they'd agreed to drive him home first, so he could change into jeans and get behind the wheel of his own car for the first time in months. As I left the building, I saw his last motorcade assembled in the deserted parking lot, his bodyguards taking up positions one final time. The image reminded me that every candidate we cover is a person, too, who at some point has to stop for red lights, just like the rest of us.

MILESTONESBlow Out the Candles, Sell the Cake Anniversaries don't exist just for men to forget. birthdays become potent marketing tools for many a product. This year, for example, Spinal Tap marked its all-important 16th anniversary with a line of action figures. Some events were more momentous:

Jack Daniel's

A toast: for a century and a half, JD's spirits have been soothing ours. No lesser whisky could have put Lynchburg, Tenn., on the cultural radar screen.

Firestone Tires

Q: How do you celebrate a centennial in the midst of a nationwide tire recall?

A: Very quietly. As in: 'Mention it, you're fired.'

Howard Johnson has fallen on hard times, but the chain is alive and kicking. So are the Rockettes, also 75.

Silly Putty's still bouncing and comic-copying. After 'millennium' putty, who was surprised at the anniversary edition? Club Med and Dunkin' Donuts also turned 5-0.

'Ball Four,' Jim Bouton's love/hate letter to baseball, still swings. 'Doonesbury' is 30, though Garry Trudeau is older.

'Rocky Horror Picture Show' had a time-warping b-day with a B-way show. Microsoft, another cult fave, also turned 25.

Big League Chew still markets tobaccolike gum to minors. National Pet Week is 20 this year, too. UPDATEY2 Was OK When the ball dropped in Times Square last year, the unexpected happened. Nothing. The world didn't end, planes didn't crash, not even toasters malfunctioned. The non-apocalypse was bad news for Y2K survivalists who'd stockpiled food and installed generators. "I'm used to being the butt of jokes," admits independent health researcher Ralph Zuranski of Garland, Texas. Robert Swanson, a Spokane massage therapist, regrets the cash he blew on food, solar panels and a pond: "I'm scared to add it all up." He says he's still eating stored food--a year's worth for four people--and "it's hard to eat a bucket of wheat." Keep that in mind next time the world ends. STYLEBad Hair Year It is a human truth that the bad-hair day shall be resisted. But this year, we embraced that hallmark of unfortunate dos, the mullet, on film ("Nurse Betty") and Internet sites ( Says Bumble and bumble stylist Raymond McLaren, "It's a good haircut for you and your mates to have a good laugh at." FIRST PERSONShedding Some Light on 'The Real Slim Shady' You heard the shocking lyrics, you read the tabloid stories, you saw the snarky videos, but here are a few things you don't know about this year's bete blanche, Eminem. He thinks Christina Aguilera has talent, even though he hates her guts. He ran into Marilyn Manson in the lobby of the Soho Grand Hotel and had no idea who the shock rocker was (the two would later appear together in a video). He called rock-and-rap act Papa Roach "a bad version of Limp Bizkit," adding, "People accuse me of stealing the culture? This is how you f---in' steal hip-hop culture." (The group would later open for Eminem and Limp Bizkit on the Anger Management Tour.) In the middle of an MTV shoot he ducked out to call his 4-year-old daughter. ("Hailie, guess what I'm wearing? The Tom Green 'Bum Bum Song' suit. I'm gonna run around and you're gonna get to watch it. Blow me a kiss." He blows her a kiss. "Catch it? OK, put Mommy on.") And the happiest I ever saw him was at his record-release party in New York City--before the law-suits, arrests and divorce filings--surrounded by his wife and friends, singing along to Snoop and Dre's "Gin and Juice" as though nothing else in the world even mattered.

FAST CHATThrowing Heat What became of the broken bat that Yankee Roger Clemens tossed at Met Mike Piazza during the World Series? Fox TV sportscaster Keith Olbermann has part of it. PERI's David A. Kaplan talked to him:

Ten minutes after the game, I asked a couple of the stadium clubhouse kids what had happened to it. They said some pieces had been given away and some had been thrown out, including the handle. "No, it's still over here," a clubhouse assistant pointed out, and fished it out of the trash. I asked if I could borrow it and one of the kids said, "Nah, keep it." I did, and sent a check [for $25,000] to charity.

You. Seriously, nobody. And I am convinced that Clemens didn't hurl it at anybody, either. In what he said to the umpire after the inning, and what he said to me after that game, he came as close as he'll ever come to apologizing for anything he ever did on a baseball field. FIRST PERSONI'll Have the Rat Plate, Please I met Gervase--you don't really need his last name, do you?--for lunch on a rainy Saturday in New York about two weeks before "Survivor" debuted. At that point, I was still trying to understand the basics. How do you win immunity? What's a Tagi? A CBS babysitter monitored us to make sure Gervase didn't spill any secrets, but he did let slip a few tidbits that helped me handicap "Survivor" when it aired. I knew that despite almost getting voted off the island in the first week, Rudy would last awhile because Gervase told me he thought the cranky Navy SEAL would become the show's most famous contestant. He also said something about being on the island when his son was born. That meant he'd survive at least until he got an on-air baby announcement, which turned out to be pretty far into the show. (Sean gave me a similar clue to his own longevity when he told me his "Survivor" highlight was his dad's visit--which didn't happen until week 11.) But the biggest news had nothing to do with Gervase's info about the competition. Around the time lunch arrived, I asked what he ate on the island. Without a hint of disgust, he replied: "Rats." Then he added, between bites of chicken Caesar, "They tasted like chicken." When my story hit the next week, the rodents made headlines nationwide. Of course, what none of us realized then was that the four-legged rats were just an appetizer. It was the back-stabbing, alliance-forming, two-legged rats that made "Survivor" the biggest thing on television.

HARRY POTTERPick Me or the Muggles Get It With his new movie role, Daniel Radcliffe stands at the epicenter of Harrymania. But could others embody the bespectacled boy wizard? It's all about the glasses and, as renowned casting director Mike Fenton says, "You could put Mickey Mouse in that role and it'd be a smash." FAST CHATDogg Eat Dog No one knows, for sure, "Who Let the Dogs Out?" Doesn't matter: the Baha Men's song is a definite hit. But its canine theatrics seem old. PERI's Allison Samuels asked the original Dogg, Snoop, to weigh in:

I don't listen to that type of s--t. They don't play that bulls--t on the stations I listen to. I may hear a little part of it at a Lakers game--but that's two seconds. I ain't tired of the song 'cause I don't hear it.

I'm the Dogg-father--nobody bites my style. They may try--but it's all [out of] love for me. I ain't mad at nobody trying to be me. They know my game is tight, so why wouldn't they trrry to bite it? But they won't last long 'cause it ain't but one Doggfather, understand?

"Gin and Juice," 'cause win or lose, a little gin and juice will make it all the better.

Not long. You need to be original to stay in this game a long time, so they ain't got long. Which means all these questions about them have been a waste of my mother-f---ing time. MUSICKidding Around Radiohead's album "Kid A" hit shelves in October, and not since the colonists asked for no taxation without representation have we longed so much for something from England. The follow-up to 1997's critically slobbered-upon "OK Computer," "Kid A" was met with more anticipation--and fanfare. FIRST PERSONAn Olympian's Graciousness Her dream had almost become part of her name: "Marion Jones, who hopes to win five gold medals in Sydney." She had won the first two easily. But on her final leap in the long jump, she fouled, settling for bronze. She grinned, gave a little girl's shrug, paid tribute to those who had beaten her. Her graciousness was no surprise to me. A year earlier, at the world championships in Seville, Jones had been forced to withdraw with a back injury. With Marion out of the meet, I departed Spain a day early and found myself seated across the plane aisle from her. I leaned over and said, "Marion, I'm really sorry about your injury." Then I added: "I know this won't be much consolation, but because of it I'm going to make it home for my anniversary." Jones smiled and said, "I'm happy to know this is working out for somebody."

GAMESSega Plays On We come to praise Sega, not to bury it. Sure, the losses are mounting, the stock is plummeting and the cognoscenti are saying that by this time next year, Sega as we know it won't even exist. But the fact remains that for the year 2000, Sega may have done more than any other company to push the limits of what interactive entertainment can be. The intricately detailed living world of Shenmue; the cartoon action of Jet Grind Radio; the insanely addictive Virtual Tennis; the quirky virtual-pet simulator Seaman: all will stand the test of time, no matter how many PlayStation 2s Sony is able to slip into our living rooms. FIRST PERSONStanding Up to Slobodan It was early October when I arrived in Belgrade, and the Parliament building was still smoldering. Two days earlier Slobodan Milosevic had been forced to admit defeat in the Sept. 24 election. "People power" was in the air, and disgusted citizens were rising up across Serbia in small acts of rebellion. In the grim industrial town of Leskovac, a local opposition leader introduced me to Nenad Arsov, 29. He was a handsome veteran of the wars in Bosnia and Croatia. We sipped beers in a deserted cafe on the graffiti-scarred main square as he told me his story. Now an English teacher at a primary school, Arsov had stayed home from work on the first day of strikes aimed at driving Slobo from power. That morning the school principal--a hard-liner who had forced English and French instructors to apologize for teaching "NATO languages"--encountered him in the street and fired him. Arsov returned to the school, tore down a portrait of Milosevic, then organized a staff meeting to confront the boss. "She called me a 'drug addict' and said I was filling the kids with bad political ideas," he told me. "I called her a liar, and all hell broke loose. Teachers were trembling." But soon many colleagues joined in, accusing their boss of nepotism and theft. The stunned principal retreated to her office. Arsov still didn't know how the drama would play out--either in Serbia or in his school--but one fact was certain, he said: "Life in Leskovac will never be the same."

FAST CHATThe Grinch That Saved 2000

Director Ron Howard's "Grinch" took in $55 million its opening weekend and zoomed from there. PERI's John Horn spoke with the producer, Brian Grazer.

I'm half Jewish, so I always look at the smaller side, so about $35 million to $40 million.

Ron Howard and I do the same thing whenever one of our movies opens. He's in one car with a driver checking out theaters in New York, and I'm in another car with a driver checking out theaters in Los Angeles. The only other difference is I'm intoxicated. I had two In-N-Out Double-Double hamburgers and a really great bottle of Bordeaux... The "Grinch" theaters were packed.

Oh, my God. That's heavy.

Somebody sent me a bottle of Patron tequila. That's definitely more practical than flowers. It's actually useful.

Putting It All Into Words Did Americans learn any lessons this year? At the very least, we passed Vocab., and even made up new words where we saw fit.

Benneth / n. Spiritual union of Gwyneth Paltrow and Ben Affleck.

fuzzy math / n. 1. Numbers that don't add up. 2. Maybe they do add up, but that's a lot of numbers.

gun show loophole / n. Provision that allows for the purchase of a gun (at gun show) without a background check. See: Heston.

just gay enough / adj. Relating to being attracted to the opposite sex, while still possessing that certain je ne sais quoi.

on lockdown / adj. Characterized by not putting out: I'm on lockdown.

Napsterbate / v. To indulge in pleasure of downloading files by oneself all night long.

operating at a high bandwidth / adj. How a very smart person would describe another very smart person. See: Bill Gates on Paul Allen.

subliminable / adj. 1. Below the threshold of conscious perception. 2. Below Dubya's threshold of conscious perception.

tread separation / n. The act or state of the tread splitting from the tire. See: Firestone.

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